Sunday, October 18, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

The disciples, James and John, went to Jesus and called him "teacher."

They asked for a favor: "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."

Instead of granting the favor, Jesus began to teach them. Serving, giving, surrendering and letting go were the words that came from Jesus' mouth that day.

These are not passive realities. These are chosen, embraced, accepted realities that we enter into with our eyes and our hearts open. These are not for the weak and helpless. On the contrary, these are for the bold and those of strong faith who stand up to make the choice, believing it has the potential to profoundly affect not only the self but the other.

A person can make me be last by forcing me into that place in line, or by depriving me of the choice to be first, second or third. But no one can make me choose it. No one can make me surrender my heart to being last. That is a choice only I can make. That is an attitude of mind and heart that only I have the power to make in my life. That is the point.

It is not being in the last position that is important to Jesus. It is the choosing of that position that is important.

When someone begins to understand service and being last so that others may be first, they begin to experience the power of the kingdom. In Jesus' kingdom, the only place that makes sense is last place. The only position of real meaning is that of service.

The values that society so often lift up are all rooted in competition, power and authority, deciding, forcing, winning and gaining control over – these are what usually cause us to think we are superior.

Only one who truly values life could ever understand the incomparable power of letting it go for another. Only those who have truly felt loved and gifted by another are those who instinctively would understand service.

Those who have been chosen to be first are those who would love, desire and thirst to put others in that place – even if that meant they needed to be last in order for it to be so.

This is "kingdom thinking." This is "God stuff." This is where "spirit and truth unite with heart and soul" to give us the fullness of life.

None of this can be proven. This only can be experienced then known.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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